Here is an interesting blog clinic quesiton from student tenant Mandy (not her real name):
I am a tenant of a student assured shorthold tenancy with 4 others. Our lease is about to expire, but we have suffered from extreme noise and dust from the landlord’s cosmetic work on the outside of the house- sandblasting for several weeks – plus replacement windows.
He gave notice of the works in March and said that all would be completed during our Eater holidays and by the end of April. In fact, worked started after the holidays and has only just finished. We suffered disruption during our final degree exams and the lliving room and two bedrooms were unusable for weeks. Dust filled the flat and coated every surface.
Workers let themselves in without warning and at weekends, used our kitchen and left a mess. Scaffolding outside our first-floor windows meant that our flat was easy to break into (we tried it!), and despite our requests for peace via the agent, we had! no response from the landlord.
The council issued him with a notice to desist with the works and threatened him with a hefty fine, but this was too late for our exams. Now we are about to move out and scaffolding partly occludes the front door to the house, which means that I can’t remove my washing machine. I have informed the agent of this problem but to no avail.
Can we claim for rent abatement and compensation?
What can I do about the washing machine – I move out in under a week?
Mandy has provided a picture of the doorway obscured by scaffolding and I can see that it would be difficult to move out the washing machine. Is there any way it could be got out through a window or back door? Otherwise, if you have no alternative but to leave it there, your only option is to claim the cost from the landlord. Its a pity in a way that you have paid the last months rent as this could have been used as negotiation.
I think you probably are entitled to compensation and a rent refund, but if you are not able to negotiate anything (which sounds likely given the history) you will have to go to court, which I expect you would prefer not to do.
However the threat of taking them to court may bring forth something. If you do decide to go to court you would be able to use the money claim online service. You may be able to get some help from Shelter or the CAB. Or if you decide to join Landlord Law (which has a very large tenants section) you can ask me questions in the members forum area.